International spotlight on newborn care

Thursday 30 May 2019

Mater’s strong focus on family-integrated care—involving parents in the care of their babies—was a feature of Professor Helen Liley’s address to the prestigious Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) 150th Anniversary event held this month.

Professor Liley, who is a Senior Staff Specialist Mater Mothers’ Hospital, Mater Research Honorary Senior Fellow and Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Queensland, was the only academic outside of North America invited to address the ‘Cutting Edge of Paediatrics’ symposium on BCH Alumni Day as part of the event.

“This was an incredible honour as well as a unique opportunity internationally to showcase the leading work we are doing here at Mater in neonatology,” said Professor Liley.

“The presentation also allowed me to raise awareness of important global trends and breakthroughs in neonatal care.

“Although Australia doesn’t necessarily have the large budgets behind newborn care that the US does, our perinatal death statistics are lower and many other outcome measures are better in Australia so we are definitely doing many things right,” she said.

Professor Liley’s presentation focused on Mater’s care of seriously ill and premature babies and was extremely well received by the international audience.

“There was genuinely strong interest in our work and I was very proud to be representing Mater,” Professor Liley said.

“The whole experience of travelling to Boston was a career highlight—one of my most memorable moments was a campus tour where I was privileged to meet the two women who were the first female residents at Boston Children’s back in 1976,” she said.

Professor Liley was a resident at BCH from 1982-1984 and one of only a handful of non-US medical graduates who have ever been accepted into the residency training program there. After neonatal fellowship training in San Francisco, she also returned to BCH as a consultant for eight years until 1995.